How should you focus on the few things that truly matter? How can you upgrade your life by downsizing it? How can such steep climbs as a husband’s brain tumor, bankruptcy, family loss, and public criticism be handled by God’s grace?
Bible Gateway interviewed Erin Loechner (@erinloechner) about her book, Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path (Zondervan, 2016).
What message are you communicating in the title?
Erin Loechner: Chasing Slow is a book about middles. There’s no arrival point, no tidy destination in which I claim to have figured out what it means to live a slower, wiser, more grace-filled life. It’s simply one woman’s journey on a quest to try a new way of being; a flinging of old patterns and a clinging to new lessons. There’s a line in the book that states, “Chasing slow is still a chase,” because in truth, we sometimes trick ourselves into pursuing the slow life just as quickly and gracelessly as we once pursued the fast one. Perhaps acceptance of our current pace—both the ones we can control and the ones we cannot—is a more worthy goal.
You open yourself up right away in the book with writing “I married a man with an expiration date.” Describe how, through your husband’s brain tumor and other turmoil, you found the strength to surrender to God’s grace.
Erin Loechner: I don’t know that we ever fully find the strength to surrender it all, but it’s certainly what I’m working toward. You know, you just go through life with a false sense of security. We all do. We assume that if we pay our taxes and brake for bunnies, God will bless us. We’ll be “good” people, with “good” outcomes and in God’s good graces. Ken’s tumor taught us both very early on that we’re not meant to control this life—we’re meant to surrender to it. The circumstances we’re given aren’t always the ones we’d choose, and we can either approach them with downcast eyes and angry hearts, or we can try a different way—one of acceptance, of joy, of delight in the days we’re given still. It’s surprisingly hard, yet surprisingly simple.
What are three ways to find God in the everyday rhythms of life?
Erin Loechner: Prayer, meditation, and worship. God has made himself ever-available to us; the veil has been torn. Are we living as if this is true, as if Someone so majestic and awe-inspiring is so very accessible? I find prayer, meditation, and worship to be the most consistent ways to invite God into my own everyday rhythm, whether my day is grounded by a particular verse, parable, or my own heart’s prayer. I find that by simply paying attention to the world God’s given us is one of today’s most rebellious acts—turning our eyes toward both beauty and pain; walking toward it all day after day after day.
What is a “quiet and constant faith” and how can someone find it?
Erin Loechner: I think of a quiet and constant faith as a house built on rock. We don’t find it; we build it. We choose love and truth and grace. We serve our neighbors, we care for the poor and the orphaned; the widows. We abide. We obey. We work, collaborating with the one who gives us strength and humility both, and in these small (great) acts of ordinary holiness, we inevitably witness the many ways our faith has sheltered us from a slew of storms.
How does the Bible help you in “chasing slow” in your life?
Erin Loechner: The Bible is a profound source of wisdom for me. It’s so difficult to indulge in the trials of our everyday when you receive a smack of perspective on the daily.
What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?
Erin Loechner: Proverbs 16:9—We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go.
I find comfort in the idea that our plans must be held loosely in order to find ourselves obedient to a new (greater) direction.
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Bio: Author of Chasing Slow and founder of Design for Mankind, Erin Loechner has been blogging and speaking for more than a decade. Her heartfelt writing and design work has been showcased in The New York Times, Lucky, Parenting, Dwell, Marie Claire, Elle Decor, Huffington Post, and a two-season HGTV.com web special, garnering over one million fans worldwide. She has spoken for and appeared in renowned international events for clients such as Walt Disney World, IKEA, Martha Stewart and Home Depot. Now nestled in a Midwestern town, Erin, her husband, and two kids strive for less in most areas except three: joy, grace, and goat cheese.
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